The First Nations Development Institute in Longmont, Colorado, has announced a $1.8 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help Native American communities build more equitable food systems that promote the health and well-being of children and families.
The grant will enable First Nations to build on the foundation's longtime support of its Native Agriculture and Food Systems initiative by partnering with Native communities and organizations to expand peer learning, networking, capacity building, and philanthropic engagement. Those efforts, in turn, will advance support for Native organizations and tribes working to achieve food sovereignty; perpetuate traditional Native foods and cultural practices; and boost the national Native food sovereignty movement.
Over the next three years, First Nations will convene, on an annual basis, groups of Native food-systems practitioners and provide them with learning, networking, and capacity-building opportunities, with the goal of strengthening a community of practice. In addition to smaller virtual and in-person convenings, practitioners will be invited to First Nations' 2019 and 2021 Food Sovereignty Summits, which will be co-hosted by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. In 2020, the primary convening will occur during First Nations' L.E.A.D. Institute Conference, an event for First Nations grantees and other tribal, nonprofit, and business professionals.
"Since the beginning of our Native agriculture and food systems effort, WKKF has been a crucial partner in this work that meets at the intersection of economic development and food systems/food security, and we thank them for their continuing and generous support," said First Nations president and CEO Michael E. Roberts. "In the past, through us, WKKF has funded numerous programs where direct operational grants were awarded to various Native food and agriculture projects. This new focus takes things up a whole level — building local capacity to raise much-needed additional funds, creating an important network and a vibrant community of practice, providing enhanced peer-learning opportunities, plus us taking an active role in helping open doors to new avenues of philanthropic funding for our partners' local projects. It's teaching to fish instead of just providing a fish."